Bruins ready for a rumble at Madison Square Garden

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Bruins ready for a rumble at Madison Square Garden

WILMINGTON, MA Just three days after ruining the start to their season by handily tossing them a bitter defeat before they were demoralized by the Pittsburgh Penguins on their own home ice, the Bruins know that the Rangers wont be a red-faced bunch of Blueshirts on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Theyre fully prepared for the hornets nest effect waiting for them at Madison Square Garden and know the urgency will be there for a New York team thats now 0-2-0 in a shortened campaign where a bad start could be fatal.

We know their season hasnt started the way they wanted to, so theyre going to come at us with everything theyve got, said Milan Lucic as the Bruins finished up Tuesday practice at Ristuccia Arena before boarding their charter flight for New York City. Theyre a proud team and weve had some great battles over the last few years. We expect nothing less tomorrow night.

This is the first time that weve started the season 2-0-0 since Ive been here, so we want to keep it going. Were looking to put away what weve already done, and then start all over again every time we drop the puck.

In fact it's the Bruins best start in 11 years dating back to the 2001-02 edition of the Black and Gold that started off 3-0-0 on the season -- and boasted current assistant general manager Don Sweeney among it's defensemen corps and had the inimitable Byron Dafoe between the pipes.

Its difficult to explain whats going on in New York beyond some key players that simply dont appear like they were ready to begin the season. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was pulled from the Penguins loss, the first time that has happened since October 22, 2011 in Edmonton when the Swedish puck-stopper was having equipment issues, and didnt look sharp last weekend against the Bruins either.

Rick Nash has points in each of his first two games for the Rangers, but its clear the old chemistry isnt quite there yet for a team that won the Eastern Conference and marched to the conference finals last season. With the Bruins feeling on top of the world after a 2-0-0 start at home and the Rangers already feeling the heat while struggling with 4 percent of their season already complete, it should the same kind of playoff atmosphere that kicked up at TD Garden on Saturday night.

Will the Rangers come out with more urgency?

I dont think they will, I know they will, said Bruins coach Claude Julien. When youre that type of team and youre put in that kind of position, you would expect the very best out of them tomorrow.

Its not an easy building to play and weve had our fair share of tough games there over the years. So were expecting a challenge. But nonetheless its an opportunity for us to go into their building and play the best New York team that theyve been so far this season. It will be a really tough test and well be up to it.

Heart-and-soul players like Ryan Callahan and Ryan McDonagh will have their mean faces on, the defense should be paying much more attention to detail after allowing nine goals in their first two games and pride should certainly be kicking in for Lundqvist, he of the .865 save percentage two games into the wild, wacky 48-game regular season.

So put Saturday nights win in the books as a nice opening statement and get ready for the kind of Wednesday night Round 2 that Madison Square Garden has seen its share of in its 45-year history.

Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

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Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at how good the Justice League and Wonder Woman trailers were this weekend.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has veteran center Dominic Moore mulling a couple of offers as he looks for an NHL contract for next season.

*Jordan Eberle joined Canadian sports radio, and agreed that something needed to change with the Oilers after continually missing the playoffs.

*I will miss Jim Prior’s trademark “The Teams are ready, so let’s play hockey!” open to every game as a PA announcer, and I’ll miss his warm personality around the rink. It’s a sad day for the BU hockey program.

*The Arizona Coyotes continue to put together a very interesting D-men picture by signing Luke Schenn to a two-year contract. For my money, Schenn has long been one of the most overrated players in the NHL.

*The Hockey News’ Mike Brophy has some thoughts and observations about the NHL offseason as it continues to wind on.

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Stubbs on Andrei Markov and his candid thoughts on everything from the Montreal traffic to the PK Subban/Shea Weber trade.

*Here’s a spot to track the travels and stories of the Pittsburgh Penguins amid their summer with the Stanley Cup.

*For something completely different: as mentioned above, here is the trailer for the Justice League that shows a much lighter, better touch with what should be a fun movie to watch. Hopefully this means it won’t be another pretty-looking, Zack Snyder funeral dirge.

 

Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

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Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

While much of the focus is going to be on the young D-men headed into Bruins training camp, it would be foolhardy to overlook a forward prospect Danton Heinen, who is in position for a real dark horse run at an NHL roster spot. 

The strong odds are that the former University of Denver star is going to be begin the season in the AHL for the Providence Bruins after putting up a couple of points in four games there at the end of last season.

Still, that certainly hasn’t stopped Heinen from setting his sights on an NHL spot out of this fall’s camp, most likely in a third- or fourth-line capacity to start things off, or perhaps at the top-six right wing spots that have given the Bruins some problems filling permanently over the past couple of seasons.

Either way, the 2014 fourth-round pick knows that his clock to fulfilling his dreams as an NHL player has started and that it’s up to him when he can start making that a reality.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to work toward my whole life, so I’m just going to try to keep getting better, have a good rest of the summer and then put my best foot forward to see what happens,” said Heinen, who had an assist and a sweet goal in the Friday scrimmage at development camp when he twisted D-man Cam Clarke around like a pretzel on a nifty rush to the net. “I just need to continue to get stronger this summer, and working on my skating to get a bit quicker.

“[The AHL] was a lot of fun to get in there and see what it was all about. It was a lot different than college hockey, and it was definitely good to get a taste of it. [Bruins officials] told me to have a really big summer getting faster and getting stronger, so that’s what I’ve been doing.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Heinen, 21, continued to show in development camp last week, however, that he has the playmaking skills and hockey IQ to flourish while surrounded by more accomplished players and in tighter situations. It’s exactly what he showed while posting 36 goals and 93 points in his freshman and sophomore seasons for the Pioneers and it was what he showed while finishing last week as one of the best forwards in camp.

“He’s looked really good at [development] camp. He’s a smart player, he’s committed and I think you’ll notice him in training camp. It will be up to him, but I think he’ll definitely be pushing some guys [for an NHL job],” said Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo, who was running the Bruins development camp. “He looked good [in Providence]. He fit in well. He’s the type of player that can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ, and he’s got really good skill.

“Anywhere you put him he’s smart enough to figure it out. You could tell in his first game there was a little bit of an adjustment for him, but the second time game it really looked like he’d been playing [at that level] for a long time. He’s a quick study, and he looked really good last year.”

The Black and Gold management hope he continues to look good at main NHL training camp in a couple of months, where he’ll undoubtedly be featured, and could be a lot closer than many people think as a polished skill forward coming out of a big-time college hockey program. 

Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

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Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while everybody is working for the weekend...or during the weekend.

*The vice-presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, made quite an impression while hanging out a Capitals game with MC Hammer. They call this guy boring, but that doesn’t sound very boring to me.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bob Stauffer has the news that the Edmonton Oilers are parting ways with fancy stats lad Tyler Dellow. Boy, it seems like some teams are reversing course pretty quickly on some of these smarter-than-thou advanced statistics types, aren’t they? I certainly wish Dellow well and hope he finds another gig. But Instead of baselessly wondering whether the Oilers are going to continue down the fancy stats road (which they most certainly will), perhaps this is more a referendum on nonsensical stats-driven decisions like handing out that long term contract to a perpetually underachieving Benoit Pouliot.

*The New York Rangers have locked up Chris Kreider to a four-year contract at a reasonable number, and now he has the time with the Blueshirts to see how good he can be.

*Brian Leetch opens up to the Players Tribune about his NHL experiences playing with the New York Rangers, and all of his favorite experiences from a Hall of Fame career.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker says that Carey Price’s injury from last season is no longer a concern, according to Habs coach Michel Therrien.

*The Chicago Blackhawks will appear a whopping 21 times on national television across the NBC Networks next season.

*Incoming BU goaltender Jake Oettinger is among the names to look out for at the 2017 draft, according to the NHL Central Scouting bureau.

*Travis Yost says that the Carolina Hurricanes are on the rise thanks to winning the shot differential battle. I think it’s because they have an outstanding cast of young defensemen, who are helping them control the puck and win that shot differential battle. But they still need to score more if they’re going to really be a team on the rise, so we’ll see what happens there.

*For something completely different: for those that think I’m a Democrat because I am anti-Trump, here’s a story on the DNC machinery attempting to torpedo Bernie Sanders during the presidential campaigning over the last year.